Tuesday 11 December 2018

The Twelve Wines of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… When you think of your perfect Christmas we bet that wine features pretty high up on your festive wish list. From that perfectly chilled glass of Prosecco (or preferably champagne) on Christmas morning, through to that palate cleansing Chablis to accompany the start of Christmas lunch to the luscious glass(es) of Port or dessert wine to pair with your after-dinner cheeses.

With a little bit of planning and a nudge in the right direction from online wine retailer Rude Wines, you can ensure you won't be disappointed at those pivotal festive moments. Their website is a great place to start as it has single bottles if you’re looking for something specific and their well-chosen mixed cases with some festive discounts thrown in will save you money and effort.

If we still believed, these twelve would be top of our Christmas wish list to Santa:

Christmas parties

Choose Punto Rosa Spumante Rosato (on offer at £9.49) to add a touch of sparkle to proceedings. From the Veneto region, this beautiful, bubbling rosé wine is made from 65% Pinot Grigio and 35% Pinot Noir by the Prosecco cooperative Val d'Oca. Far from being cloying like some rosés, this is deliciously dry and will pair well with party nibbles. After all, what can be more celebratory than pink fizz?

Decorating the tree, present wrapping and Christmas Eve

Settle down for some serious present wrapping with a glass of chilled late harvest white wine. In fact, you'll be glad if you stock up on more than one bottle of Magie d'Or Pacherenc Du Vic-Bilh, 2013 (£9.99). Made in South West France from grapes left to ripen well into Autumn, it has the perfect balance of lusciousness and refreshing acidity that will keep you merrily sipping till those last few presents are wrapped and those fairy lights are detangled! The beauty of this is wine is that it goes equally well with savoury nibbles, otherwise known as crisps (hand cooked of course) or a box of your favourite chocolates!

Christmas morning

On Christmas morning, you deserve some fizz for getting through all that pre-Christmas prep. Whatever your budget, there's a sparkling wine to suit. Rude Prosecco Brut (£9.29) is a crisp, light fizz that won't disappoint on Christmas morning.

A notch up from Prosecco, sparkling English wines can give the finest champagnes a run for their money. We love Exton Park Blanc de Blancs, 2011, on offer at £33.50. The combination of a great site and terrific winemaker result in one of the very best English wines. Buying local means you'll be smugly reducing your food (or rather wine) miles too.

Christmas dinner – fish starter

The best Christmas meals in our minds always start with some great fresh seafood. Whether it's the classic prawn cocktail dusted with paprika or some lemon-drenched smoked salmon, choose a white that will sing harmoniously alongside these flavours. Flinty Chablis is a classic choice and has the stature to give a festive flourish to proceedings. If there aren't too many glasses to fill, push the boat out and get a bottle or two of a premier cru like Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons 2015 at £27.90. A memorable crisp, dry white from a region steeped in winemaking tradition.

If you’'e on a budget try a Muscadet which is famously good with fish. L'Oiseau d'Or Muscadet Sur Lie 2016 at £8.49 has a creamy depth of flavour from ageing on the lees.

Red wine for a meat starter 

For those who prefer a red to lead into Christmas dinner, Beaujolais is the perfect wine. It's a fairly light, fresh and fruity wine that will match nicely with patés and terrines. Wines from the Beaujolais Cru areas are more sought-after and tend to have more body and depth of flavour than basic Beaujolais. Look for names like Fleurie, Morgon and Juliénas. Château de Fleurie 2016 (£12.69) is made by renowned winemaker Jean Loron and has an intense juicy berry character making it ever so moreish.

White wine for turkey 

Turkey is the classic choice for Christmas Dinner nowadays but as you may have noticed Turkey doesn't always have a lot of flavour! Happily, the side dishes all have plenty of flavours. Think brussels sprouts with bacon, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce. This mixed bag of flavours can pose a problem when looking for a wine match. We've found it’s best to go for a lightly oaked dry white which has a bit of body and will stand up to all the strong flavours on the plate. An Australian Semillon blend should do nicely. We love Barton Jones Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, 2016 (£19.99). It's a versatile wine with a good weight of citrus fruit thanks to the 37-year-old vines that produce the Semillon and the Sauvignon grape brings a Christmassy, citrussy freshness.

Red wine for turkey 

When it comes to choosing the best red for turkey, you can't beat the classic Pinot Noir grape and Burgundy in France is the true heartland of this grape. Don't hold back when it comes to quality, something to bear in mind as these wines are only produced in relatively small quantities. We love Givry Rouge, 2014, Albert Bichot at £20.50. This has lovely aromas of Morello cherries and blackcurrants, while the palate is soft and silky with light vanilla overtones.

Dessert wine for Christmas pudding

Often described as Christmas pudding in a glass, it's no surprise that Rutherglen Muscat is seen as the perfect wine pairing for this traditional pud. Syrupy and unctuous with a heady 18% alcohol, Stanton and Killeen Classic Rutherglen Muscat NV (£17.99) is powerful, rich and sweet. Packed with flavours of caramel, rose petals, dried figs and raisins it can stand up to the richest of desserts. Or just forego pudding and have a glass of this instead!

Christmas cheeseboard

If you feel like splashing out on a really special bottle of Port, Quinta Da Romaneira 2008 at £45.00 is one to go for. Made at a beautiful wine estate high up in the Douro Valley in Portugal, the grapes for this fortified wine are still trodden by foot to give them a gentle pressing and the wine is aged in large wooden barrels. The result is a full-bodied, dense wine with a long fruity finish. Slightly less pricey but equally good with Stilton or any cheese for that matter, Quinta Do Infantado LBV 2013 at £18.95 is rich and smooth. We doubt there'll be any left after it's passed to the left!

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